I’ve spent a great deal of time this week thinking on these things. Things that have caused pain, things that have been a source of much sadness and regret and guilt and shame. Things that have stirred up deep-seated anger and bitterness.
I’ve stared at the computer screen in the quiet of the early morning or the stillness of the late night, trying to compose something for which to be grateful, and I’ve had nothing but silence. It’s not that my mind was silent and empty – far from it. It’s that my mind was filled with the pain and sadness and regret and guilt and shame and anger and bitterness and worry and stress…
And then this morning, I woke up from a fitful night of sleep, and I prayed John Wesley’s prayer:
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine.
So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven.|
And I asked God very simply, to please use me for His glory today.
I got to work, and when I turned my daily calendar to August 10, instead of some profound quote from some famous person, there was a profound quote from a famous person:
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. – Paul (Philippians 4:8, The Message)
So I am back at finding the best and the beautiful in the midst of it all.
I am grateful today that my sister took such good care of my oldest brother this past year.
I am grateful for the warm feelings I have deep down for my oldest brother who had the biggest heart and loved his family but had a hard time showing some of them.
I am grateful that he carried pictures of his family with him all through his life.
I am grateful for the residents of his apartment complex who saw my oldest brother as a very sweet, quiet man, just like my sister and I did.
I am grateful for flowers and a beautiful card from my boss that were on our front doorstep.
I am grateful that my sister was able to grieve yesterday and wrote memories of our oldest brother.
I am grateful for her friends who sent her a beautiful arrangement of white flowers.
I am grateful that she has taken our oldest brother’s glass ashtray and turned it into a small vase.
I am grateful that Dad and I were able to share with each other last night and let a little bit of our grief out.
I am grateful for the messages of sorrow I have received from friends and a few family members.
I am grateful for lighthearted moments in all of this. Natia the rat dog is happy 98.5% of the time and is so quick to forgive and forget; Paul Simon’s “Love Me Like a Rock,” the song that will not leave my swimming mind because I have ALWAYS associated that song with my oldest brother, and I just realized yesterday how fitting the words really are (look them up – you’ll see); my sister wanting to push the button “because he pushed MY buttons for the last year…”
And I am grateful that my family wants to have a memorial service and that it will be in our church and will be a gateway to healing and closure and give my oldest brother some dignity in the tragedy of his journey in this life.
“What a wee little part of a person’s life are his acts and his words! His real life is led in his head, and is known to none but himself. All day long, the mill of his brain is grinding, and his thoughts, not those other things, are his history.” – Mark Twain